Walton County reinstates Leave No Trace Ordinance

July 1, 2009

walton-county-logo After tagging items left on beach, Walton County Code Enforcement will remove items after 24 hours

BEACH ORDINANCE No. 2003-07G

“LEAVE NO TRACE”

What is Leave No Trace?

Leave No Trace is an international program that guides outdoor enthusiasts in their decisions to reduce their impacts while enjoying recreational activities.

What is Beach Ordinance No. 2003-07G?

Over the last three years, Walton County has made progress in promoting and enforcing beach ordinance No. 2003-07G, which states personal items including beach chairs, umbrellas, tents and other personal items left on the beach and around public beach accesses overnight (from one hour after dusk to one hour after sunrise) will be removed, unless otherwise permitted.

Why did Walton County enact this ordinance?

The beach ordinance was enacted due to the need for emergency vehicles to navigate the beach more safely and to protect wildlife such as nesting sea turtles (May – November). The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission are mandating to coastal counties that obstacles on the beach at night should be prohibited. This is in effect at other Florida beaches and is being more strictly enforced because of the large decline of turtle nests being recorded.

What is the Walton County Tourist Development Council’s (TDC) role in the program?

The TDC has been tasked by the Board of County Commissioners for marketing and educating visitors and residents of the ordinance and Leave No Trace campaign. The TDC is implementing a beach ambassador program, providing direct contact with beachgoers. There will be a TDC staff beach ambassador on the beach to interact with beachgoers from 6:00 am – 2 pm, from spring break through turtle nesting season to provide information on topics including Leave No Trace, beach rules and beach safety.

What is Code Enforcement’s role in the program?

Code Enforcement will enforce the ordinance. Code Enforcement officers will tag items left on the beach overnight, giving owners and beach vendors 24 hours to remove abandoned items. If items are not removed, Code Enforcement will remove the abandoned items and store them at the TDC Central Maintenance Facility for 48 hours before disposing of the items.

How does the owner of an abandoned item get it back?

Abandoned items may be retrieved between the hours of 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Monday – Thursday and 9:00 a.m. – Noon on Friday at the TDC Central Maintenance Facility located at 924 CR 83. Owners will be asked to provide a photo ID and sign an affidavit confirming that they are the owner of the property.

Can you get a permit for kayaks, larger items and permanent structures to be left at the toe of the dune? Yes. Code Enforcement issues permits Monday through Thursday for permissible items.  Contact Code Enforcement at 850-622-0000 for an application. Code enforcement makes all determinations regarding permits.

When does this new procedure go into effect?

The new procedure was approved by the Walton County Board of County Commissioners on June 30. The County is currently focused on education and voluntary compliance. Once personnel is trained and tags are printed, Code Enforcement will begin full enforcement of the ordinance, including tagging and removal of abandoned items.

If you have additional questions, please call Code Enforcement at 850-622-0000.

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